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Raising Awareness of Cultural Heritage: Experiential Learning, Architecture Education, and Documentation of Historical Architecture in Ras Al Khaimah

Tawfiq Abuhantash, Eman Al Assi, Abeer Abu Ra'ed

Cultural heritage plays a considerable role in society. It reflects and shapes the values, beliefs and aspirations that define national identity. It is also a source of pride for new generations and gives a sense of belonging to communities.

The remains of old architectural structures, which are surviving the creep of modern concrete buildings in historical locations in Ras Al Khaimah, are signs of a rich cultural heritage that has evolved more elaborately compared to many cities in the region. The lack of records on these houses and their urban forms, however, increases the likelihood of potential knowledge loss related to the Emirati heritage that they embody.

The aim of this paper is to raise awareness among the community, especially the youth, about the importance of cultural heritage in Ras Al Khaimah through engaging academic institutions. One way to preserve this cultural heritage is through documentation of the current physical conditions for select historic houses in the Old Town area of Ras Al Khaimah using architectural drawings, images, and photos. A pilot experiential learning project that engaged American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK) architecture students in a documentation process for six buildings highlights the potential for similar approaches at other academic institutions and demonstrates how collaborative partnerships may result between various stakeholders and academic researchers, students, and practitioners in a mutual effort to preserve cultural heritage.

Recommended citation: Abuhantash, T., Al Assi, E., & Abu Ra'ed, A. (2020). Raising Awareness of Cultural Heritage: Experiential Learning, Architecture Education, and Documentation of Historical Architecture in Ras Al Khaimah (Policy Paper No. 42). Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research.

DOI: Forthcoming

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